Call for responsible access to woodland areas

As part of its bid to help halt biodiversity loss, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is calling on all visitors to its destinations to play their part and be mindful that forests are not there just for us.

Mark Dowie
Saturday, 9th July 2022, 12:00pm
Call for responsible access to woodland areas

With more than 300 destinations to choose from, FLS is looking forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to Scotland’s national forests and land during the summer holidays.

Visitor access needs to be balanced with habitat protection, however, and minimising the potential impact that large numbers of people can have on biodiversity.

Colin Edward, FLS Environment Manager, said: “As the largest provider of outdoor recreation in Scotland, we annually welcome millions of visits from people looking to enjoy some of the best locations in the country.

“However, the land that we manage is also home to many thousands of species, some of which are rare or threatened with extinction.

“These can range from plants such as Twinflower, butterflies such as the pearl bordered fritillary, animals such as red squirrels and many species of ground nesting birds, such as Capercaillie.

“Clearly not all of these species are found everywhere and we don’t expect that everyone should know in detail where particular species are found.

“That’s why we’re simply asking everyone to be aware that the forests and land are there not just for our benefit and to behave appropriately and cause minimal disturbance, especially in spring and early summer when there are many young animals and birds in the forest.

“With SOAC, people can take responsible access whether there is a formal trail or not but off-trail activities are more of a problem for wildlife. By staying on formal trails visitors can be assured that their access is responsible.”

As well as taking their litter home and making use of portable cooking stoves rather than lighting camp fires, in areas where protected or endangered species are known to live visitors should stick to official trails and paths, and keep dogs on leads.

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers to enable economically sustainable forestry; conserve and enhance the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature.

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